The No. 6 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team started out hot and never took the foot off the gas, never trailing in a 13-9 upset of No. 1 Denver in Colorado.
UNC opened up the game firing on all cylinders, with senior midfielder Michael Tagliaferri scoring 43 seconds into the game for the Tar Heels. Senior attackman Luke Goldstock would follow with a goal of his own with 11:01 left in the first quarter to give UNC a 2-0 lead. The teams would not score again until Denver got its first goal of the game with 3:39 left in the first quarter. Three more goals exchanged between the sides in the quarter, resulting in a 4-2 lead for UNC when the horn sounded.
The second quarter was when the game turned into the Brian Balkham show. The junior Tar Heel keeper snagged five saves in the period, holding the Pioneers to a lone goal in the period as UNC ripped off three unanswered goals after Denver’s opener to take a 7-3 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the break, junior attackman Chris Cloutier scored a goal in a man-up situation to put UNC in the driver’s seat in the game. Balkham reined in another five saves as the Tar Heels outscored the Pioneers 3-2 in the quarter to give UNC a 10-5 lead heading into the final frame.
Denver put up a fight in the final quarter, firing a 14 shots to UNC’s six in a comeback attempt. The Pioneers got within three goals with 3:32 left in the game, but UNC pulled ahead once again to ice the game.